Day 1 – Scott’s Peak Dam to Junction Creek
Walking difficulty: Easy
Date walked: 11 March 2012
When I saw a man at Hobart airport with a backpack, I asked him where’d he’d just been bushwalking.
I’d just arrived off a flight from Melbourne, with the aim of starting the Port Davey track in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park the very next day.
“I just finished the South Coast track mate,” he said. “Bloody beautiful down there. The weather was perfect.” I asked him if he saw many people on the track. “Not a single person once we left the plane. Had it to ourselves. Make sure you check out Louisa Bay,” he added.
“Where are you off to?” he asked me. I told him my friend Dash and I were also heading down south. Then I added weren’t just doing the South Coast track, we’d decided to add Port Davey into the mix.
“You’re a bloody masochist to be doing both,” he cheerfully replied. “South Coast was tough work, and you’re adding another week to it.”
24 hours later, Dash and I were lifting our heavy bags to our backs, waving goodbye to my Aunt who’d dropped us off at Scott’s Peak Dam, and taking the first step. The beautiful day in Hobart had vanished, and the bad weather looked like it was setting in.
We said goodbye, and took our first step up a small hill, going through a bit of forest and coming out on some board-walks. Today’s walk was a Great Amble. We only had to get to Junction Creek, about 9km down the track.
We knew there’d be mud on the track. It greeted us warmly 2km from the car park. The area hadn’t had a good rain in ages, so if it’s raining I’m sure it’d be worse. This was the first day, we didn’t fully realise there’d be much, much more to come.
We passed about six people on the first day, all returning. I thought it would be normal to see people every day. The next time we saw a person would be about 72 hours away. We met one guy and girl who’d come from Cockle Creek, our final stop. It was their 10th day. They mentioned the mud we’d be facing the next day, but we didn’t realise how much there’d be.
We made it to camp at Junction Creek at about 5:30pm. If you’ve managed to keep your feet dry to here (which would be highly unlikely), you’ve got to walk through Junction River. So you may as well jump in the nearest mud, because walking is much easier when you’re going through it rather than around it. We washed it all off in the lovely (and very cold) river.
We had a look around the immediate campsite. The best, and driest, one is actually up the hill about 100 meters. Find the track leading out, follow it up the hill. You’ll come across a smaller campsite up there, good for about 2-3 tents.
Note: We took an old 4 litre wine-bladder with us. It’s perfect for the South Coast walk. You can fill it up at the creeks, and if you’re staying a little back from them, you’ve got all the water you need. This wine-bladder was one of my most prized possessions.
Dash reckons you can pick up Hobart’s ABC 936 here. He heard a bit of it. We didn’t hear any more radio until we got back to Hobart.
It started to rain as we went to bed. A slight worry…